Betty application for 1am weekend licence turned down

Image above: Steve Novak, owner of Betty in Barley Mow Passage

“Chiswick needs a late night place” says owner

The owner of Betty, the restaurant-bar in Barley Mow Passage, has had his application for a late licence on Fridays and Saturdays turned down by LB Hounslow’s Licensing Panel.

Betty is currently licensed until 11.30pm on both nights. Owner Steve Novak applied to extend it until 1am but was given only until midnight.

“It’s disappointing” he told The Chiswick Calendar. “I think Chiswick needs a late night place and we are well located to provide it.”

He told the Licensing Panel he was not applying to extend the licence just to make a bit more money, but so that his business could survive. Since Betty opened in August, he said:

“it has proved significantly harder to make money than we thought.”

Two good businesses had failed in that location before (Sam’s Brasserie and Foxlow restaurants) he said. The Christmas period had been disastrous because of the Omicron virus. The brunch and dinner trade had dropped off and the only events which had really proved successful for them had been late night ones.

“There aren’t as many staff in local offices. Chiswick is overserved for the brunch and lunch trade now but it is underserved for late nights.”

Getting the licence could be “make or break” for the restaurant-bar he told the panel.

Images above: Betty from Barley Mow Passage, and inside the bar

Does Chiswick want night life?

The discussion went to the heart of what kind of place Chiswick wants to be: a quiet suburb or a city location with places where people could carry on drinking late. The three local residents who spoke against the application – one of whom, Jardine Appleton, is the general manager of The Lamb pub opposite Betty – were united in preferring a good night’s sleep.

Adam Davies said it didn’t matter how good a relationship local residents had with Steve and his staff at the restaurant, how many meetings they had or what safeguards they put in place, they would never be able to stop people who’d been drinking from making a racket as they left.

Cllr Joanna Biddolph pointed out every street in Chiswick was residential, and the problem was not unique to Mr Novak’s application.

Premises are allowed to apply for up to ten temporary licences in addition to their usual licence and since Mr Novak he opened in August he has used that opportunity to have late events for Christmas and Halloween and for sporting events.

Jardine Appleton, Jemma and Adam Davies and Lorraine Pemberton told councillors these events had caused an unacceptable level of noise and led to people congregating outside, late at night. Ms Pemberton said:

“I am deeply concerned I will be living 20 yards away from what is heading towards becoming a nightclub.”

Mr Novak assured her it was and would remain just a restaurant-bar. He said he hadn’t been made aware of any problems until the licence hearing. If they had come and talked to him about he could have done something sooner and if he was granted a licence extension he would instruct his door staff to move people away from the restaurant-bar after they’d left the premises and to ask them to be quiet as they left.

His licence was extended by half an hour until midnight, with drinking up time until half past.

Betty is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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